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RAGEFACE: Tim Willits on id’s new IP and 20th anniversary

Friday, 7 October 2011 18:04 GMT By Johnny Cullen

id Software creative director Tim Willits talks to Johnny Cullen about the studio’s 20th anniversary, the next generation and the launch of a new IP, as RAGE releases today in the UK.

RAGE

Developed at Texas-based id Software alongside DOOM 4.

id’s first new IP in 15 years following Quake in 1996.

Announced at Quakecon 2007 in Dallas.

Was originally to be published by EA Partners, but Zenimax and Bethesda took over publishing rights five months after buying the developer in December 2009.

Releases today in the UK for PS3, 360 and PC.

Tim Willits is optimistic that the game he’s worked on for the past five years, id Software’s first new IP in 15 years since Quake’s original release in 1996, will turn out well in a crowded holiday period. And it seems like that might be the case.

Despite a few issues with the PC version, RAGE is holding up relatively well on the scoring front, getting an 84 on PS3, 83 on 360 and 82 on PC.

I spoke to him before the game’s release this week at Eurogamer Expo a couple of weeks back. Here’s what he said.

VG247: After nearly five years, give or take, you’ve approached the finishing line on RAGE. How does that feel?

Tim Willits: Very exciting. The game’s all wrapped up, we have people playing it and they’re having a fun time. It’s very exciting to have the 20-year anniversary and to launch a brand new game. It continues the id legacy of doing what we want and we have new technology, a new paradigm of cross-platform. We’ve always been PC-centric, but now we’re not. It’s a new game; we’re very excited.

But it’s so long since you announced it. I think it was Pete [Hines, VP of PR and marketing, Bethesda] that said recently you guys had announced it too early. I know you were initially with EA Partners before you were bought by ZeniMax, but what would be your opinion: do you think you announced the game too early?

It’s always easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but no. The thing is John [Carmack, id tech boss] loves talking about cool stuff. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. For us, now we’re right around the corner and doing these events, the game’s looking great, plays great. Whether you’re talking about it early or late, or you announce this or you announce that, or you have this campaign or that campaign, all it comes down to the game being fun. And the game’s a heck lot of fun.

How will you feel if there’s a wrong turn with the reception at release?

This game’s not much different than when we released DOOM 3, Quake III, Quake II. People’s anticipations of what the game is, people’s expectations of what id Software does and has done in the past – yeah, we don’t let those things stress us out. But I do think RAGE will change people’s perceptions of the company. It’s a really different type of experience that we’ve done in the past. Yes, it’s a first-person shooter, but it’s a lot different. I’m proud of the fact we don’t do exactly the same game every single time.

Lots of game companies do that all the time: we don’t. So it’s very exciting to work on something new and exciting.

It’s the 20th anniversary of id. You basically made the FPS genre; you’ve said that yourself. From a personal perspective, how much have you enjoyed seen id grow?

I’m excited. I’ve been working at the company for 17 years and there are still times when I have to stop and pinch myself and say to myself, ‘I’m making videogames for 17 years, this is awesome!’ And the world is shrinking and I go on these tours and everybody knows what we’re working on.

“But I do think RAGE will change people’s perceptions of the company. It’s a really different type of experience that we’ve done in the past. Yes, it’s a first-person shooter, but it’s a lot different. I’m proud of the fact we don’t do exactly the same game every single time. Lots of game companies do that all the time: we don’t.”

And we release globally now. We have new global markets, global marketing campaigns. It’s so exciting, and it’s thrilling to continue to work in the industry and continue to make the games I love to play. And the industry itself is really hot right now: there’s millions of gamers, millions of new gamers that coming onto the scene. There’s lots of opportunities, not just for the guys who make the big mega-hits, but for people working on mobile games, social games.

The future is very, very bright, for not only id, but really for the industry in general. It’s a good time to be in the industry.

But there seems to be a bit of a downturn recently. Sales are down.

That’s our global economy. But some of these games are just awesome. Every year, games just get better and better. So, I think the future’s bright. Yeah, the economy maybe beating everyone down a little bit, but the games sure are not taking a hit.

There’s so many AAA games coming out these days. We’re approaching the holiday season, and there’s going to be a worry that a couple of these games are going to crash and burn. Are you worried?

We’re the only game in the top ten that is a new IP. People, frankly, may be getting tired of whatever games they’ve already been playing. But it’s much better to be at the front of people’s minds than to be long forgotten. The exciting thing about RAGE is that it’s not part three of something; it doesn’t follow the same cookie cutter formula that a lot of other mega-hits follow these days.

We could have taken the safe route and just kept making DOOM games for the past 20 years, but I think gamers are very intelligent. They know when there’s new things. I have high-degree confidence we’ll do very well.

Remind me, when did you guys go multi? It was DOOM 3 on Xbox?

Well, yeah. Vicarious Visions did the [Xbox version] of DOOM 3, which was alright. But that’s one of the reasons we wanted to make id Tech 5 from the ground up. Start with a true, multi-core, multi-processing-type engine. A lot of developers have faced hurdles making their game run on PS3 or 360 because of older technologies; we’ve side-stepped because we’ve built everything up from the ground up.

RAGE’s launch clip.

And it’s really exciting that all the assets, textures and levels that we’ve developed for one system work across all the systems. That is the future: cross-platform. It’s difficult to develop a game for one platform, especially if you’re a new IP. It’s definitely the future. You’ll want to throw that net as far and as wide as you can.

I want to stay on multi-plat for a second. Todd [Hollenshead, id CEO] mentioned at QuakeCon that going multi-platform enabled a richer experience with id’s games compared to being PC-exclusive. What’s your perspective on that?

Yeah, I’m not really sure what Todd was talking about. For us, our objective for RAGE was to deliver the same experience on all the systems. That’s probably what he meant. You’ll have to email Todd to get clarification on what he said.

You got into a lot of trouble recently over a certain DRM comment.

No, I’ll clarify that. I was saying I personally feel that I think games being connected online all the time is great. I have zero issue with that. That has nothing to do with DRM. I think people were just being confused. Being online, always being connected, is the way of the future. I still think it’s great. RAGE has standard Steam DRM.

As you’d say in England, ‘Not to get their britches all bunched up.’ But me personally? Yeah, I think being connected is great. I love it. I get updates, all my stats would be there.

Consumers these days, they don’t really like being always connected because there are always going to be times when you’re not, and you want to play games like Assassin’s Creed or Diablo. That’s where the problem lies.

OK. When are you not connected?

On a plane, or on a bus, or in a car, and you want to play Diablo III!

That’s the silliest thing I’ve… Yeah, that’s lame.

I could play StarCraft II on my Macbook if that had offline.

But do you? Really? No, but the possibility’s there.

Well the possibility is silly. I mean really.

Fair enough, I’ll drop it.

[Tim laughs.]

Where do you intend to go next-gen with id Tech 5?

This is more of a John-type question, but the great thing about id Tech 5 is it’s very scaleable. John believes, and I believe John, that we will use this kernel, the core of id Tech 5, well into future. Heck, we can go on for ten years.

Tim Willits after his EG Expo
Behind Closed Doors
session.

Look at Quake III: Quake III tech is still powering some of the greatest games out there. Yes, they don’t call it Quake III tech anymore, but you know what I’m saying. We’re very excited.

We have no clue about the next generation of consoles. We have no inside information, but we’re very confident that our technology will easily scale right into the next generation. We made some very conscious efforts to create a tech that will get us well into the future. What about Wii U? Is that something id would be interested in?

To be honest, I haven’t even looked at it. The Bethesda booth at E3 was next to Nintendo, but I never made it over there. I have no clue.

Could you still outsource games now you’re with Bethesda? Is that something you’d like to do?

That’s a decision that’s above my head. Right now, I’m just focussing on getting RAGE done and then I’m going to help the guys finish up DOOM 4. So, whatever the organisation wants to do with those, I’ll just follow suit.

How is DOOM 4 going, by the way? I have to ask.

That’s question two! That’s all I can say about that.

Answer me this at least: is it something we could hear about by the end of the year after RAGE has released?

Come on, you think I’m going to answer some questions about DOOM? They’ll have to wait.

Tim Willits is creative director of id Software. RAGE is out now for PS3, 360 and PC. Watch the first half-hour of the game here.

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12 Comments

  1. fearmonkey

    You should have said if there is an internet outage, you cant pay the bill that month, etc. If my internet goes down, I am always happy that i can start up the xbox or PC and play a game if I want. If that were taken away, that’s not cool. Also, some internet providers are placing caps on monthly usage and i don’t want my average game playing adding to any data limit, even if its a very small amount, eventually it add up.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. warspite

    johhny, no offense, but you really need to get rid of that mustache. lol

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DarkElfa

    I have come across fewer AAA title games as broken out of the gate as this one.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Kabby

    Get hold of him for a follow up interview in a months time and ask about how Rage’s launch went.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    @3

    Couldn’t agree more especially for the PC and all the driver issues.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    They obviously gave it the wrong name. The real title should’ve been HUBRIS.

    Rage is what it does, hubris is what it is.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Johnny Cullen

    @1 I literally realised that and shouted the biggest d’oh the world could ever hear.

    @2 Ha! None taken. :D It’s going before I go to London at the end of the month. :D

    #7 3 years ago
  8. HauntaVirus

    Johnny OWNS!

    #8 3 years ago
  9. IL DUCE

    @2 Idk if Johnny can even consider that a mustache…lol

    #9 3 years ago
  10. IL DUCE

    And after reading the article just reminds me of how stupid all the DRM complaining is…it prevents piracy so you don’t feel jipped when you buy a game and someone else gets it for free by stealing it…but also, play a stupid tablet game or game on your phone if you’re not able to play a game on your laptop, that’s what they are there for…it’s just so stupid…and if youre not on a plane, get a mobile 4G hotspot or something and play using that…there are solutions to the inconvenience, people are just too lazy and too cheap to find ways to always be connected so they just complain…the only real problem is on a plane you will not be able to play, which may be inconvenient for people who take long trips a lot but BFD…you obviously signed up for that situation otherwise you wouldn’t be in it so you’re to blame…

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Johnny Cullen

    Ah poopy. Not only are people insulting my amazing moustache, the article’s broken. :( I’ll fix it up again now.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Johnny Cullen

    There we go. Fixed her all up.

    #12 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Amplitude may have been delayed but we still get something this March: a fine new gameplay trailer. Amplitude is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 sometime in northern summer. It’s a reprisal of Harmonix’s classic rhythm action game, a forerunner to its later efforts with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and was crowdfunded. Update: Turns […]

  • DayZ creator’s “crazy”, “esoteric” next game developed with Improbable

    DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall has dropped the first vague details of his new game project. “I do not want to make safe games. I do not want to make games the way we have been making them. What if the most experienced video game staff in the world collaborated on the most esoteric and […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will support AMD’s Mantle

    AMD has confirmed what most Battlefield fans thought. Battlefield Hardline will indeed support Mantle. Battlefield Hardline will support Mantle, AMD has confirmed. Some players weren’t sure whether the retail version of the game will support AMD’s API, due to its absence from the recent PC beta. AMD did not say whether the feature will be […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 GDC 2015 sizzle reel shows what the tech can do

    Unreal Engine 4 is a pretty versatile bit of tech, as this new sizzle reel shows. As one of the more ubiquitous engines, Unreal will be on show at GDC this week. Developer Epic produced the following sizzle reel to quickly demonstrate what it can do – cutting edge graphics (there are very few games […]

  • Survarium’s latest patch removes limit on battle ammo, rebalances experience gain

    The latest Survarium patch has readjusted the value of experience and reputation points gained and removed the limit to the maximum amount of ammo you can use in combat. Survarium developer Vostok Games has released patch 0.27a to the public, having recently finished testing it. The patch is a major one and covers changes to […]

  • The Hunt Begins in new Bloodborne TV spot

    Bloodborne is so close you can almost smell its coppery tang on the wind – and also you can watch commercials for it. Bloodborne arrives on PS4 at the end of this month (March 24 North America, March 25 Europe, March 27 UK) so excitement is starting to build. Sony isn’t helping keep us calm […]

  • World of Warcraft: you’ll soon be able to buy game time with gold

    Blizzard will soon allow World of Warcraft players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard has announced a new system that will launch soon for World of Warcraft. The system is called WoW Token. Using this system, players will be able to buy game time using in-game gold. Here’s how it […]

  • 3D Realms’ Bombshell returns with the first gameplay trailer

    Remember 3D Realms’ Bombshell? The isometric ARPG that was announced last year? Well, it’s back, and we get to see gameplay footage. The game stars Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a bomb technician turned mercenary with a mechanical arm. She will embark on a quest to rescue the president and save Earth, all while shooting aliens. The […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to use

    Epic Games has made Unreal Engine 4 available for anyone to download and use, for free. Unreal Engine 4 is now free. Anyone can download it and start using it, the developer announced today in a blog post. The download features the the full set of tools used by Epic, and includes 100% of the […]

  • Call of Duty European Championship winner announced

    The winner of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship has been announced. This past weekend, 28 teams representing UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the rest of Europe and Middle East attended the final of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship. UK team Epsilon eSports was crowned […]

  • GOG brings back Insomnia sale with discounts up to 90% off

    GOG.com is bringing back its Insomnia sale event with even more games. GOG’s Insomnia sale is back with double the amount of games. This year, there will be two sets of games available at once. The sets are seasoned classics and fresh new titles. Each set will feature games with discounts up to 90% off, […]

  • 2K is shutting down NBA 2K14 online servers, won’t affect career save files

    2K will be shutting down the servers for NBA 2K14 this month. The publisher revealed yesterday that online servers for NBA 2K14 will be turned offline on March 31. “You will no longer be able to play ranked games/online association,” reads the announcement. NBA 2K14 relied on online servers to store save files for MyCareer […]

  • One Dead or Alive tournament organiser is proposing ban of “over-sexualised” costumes

    A Dead or Alive tournament organiser has suggested a soft ban on some of the game’s “over-sexualised” costumes, and not everyone is happy. Tournament organiser “The HuBBs” took to the FreeStepDodge forums to suggest a list of rules that other offline tournaments can follow. The list goes over stages, characters, moves, which is certainly in […]

  • Destiny: all the news from Bungie’s open house Q&A

    Bungie hosted an open house Q&A session with the community last week and lots of exciting news have come out of it. Arekkz Gaming has gathered all the information that came out of Bungie’s open house Q&A in one handy video. The list is massive, going over Exotic weapon balance, upcoming events, PVE, Crucible rewards, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen to honour Nimoy with in-game memorials

    Developers behind space exploration games Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will honour the memory of Leonard Nimoy through in-game memorials. The develops of both games have confirmed separately that in-game memorials will be established to honour the memory of the late Star Trek actor, Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock. Elite: Dangerous executive producer Michael […]

  • Deal: get a PlayStation 4 + three exclusives for $399

    Amazon’s latest PlayStation 4 deal is not one to miss. With purchase of a PlayStation 4 console from Amazon in the US, the online retailer will throw in digital codes for Infamous Second Son, Killzone Shadow Fall and The Last of Us: Remastered, all for the same MSRP of $399. The Last of Us Remastered […]

  • Destiny: this is how one player predicted House of Wolves details and Xur’s inventory

    The method one Redditor possibly used to leak some details from Destiny’s House of Wolves was the same one he used to predict the inventory of Xur: Agent of the Nine. Last week, Reddit user Megamanexe4 leaked a few pieces of House of Wolves expansion content. The leaks included strikes, new Crucible mode, and a […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is coming to iOS… as a card-battler

    Mortal Kombat X will be releasing on mobile devices in some form, just not the one you except. Mortal Kombat X is coming to Android and iOS devices as an extension of the main game. It will launch in April alongside the console versions. The mobile game will be part card collecting and part fighting […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain announcement coming this Wednesday

    Kojima Productions will unveil something about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain this Wednesday. Metal Gear Solid fans should standby for a Phantom Pain-related announcement on Wednesday, March 4. According to developer Kojima Productions’ Twitter, there’s going to be an announcement at 2pm GMT on Wednesday. The developer posted the following image. The image […]

  • Reader survey: time to let us get to know you better!

    We’d really appreciate it if you could fill in this survey about the websites you read and the games you buy. It massively helps! You can fill out the survey right here and obviously all the information you supply is confidential. It helps us build a better picture of the people who read our site […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium: here’s everything you get for $50

    Battlefield Hardline’s Premium membership will give players access to 4 new features, early access to expansion packs and more. EA detailed the offer today – it costs $50 in total (£40 in the UK) and gives players a whole bundle of new gear and content. Check it all out in handy list form below: Masks […]

  • Hayter’s gonna hate: the voice of Solid Snake wouldn’t answer my Metal Gear question

    Voice actor and Hollywood writer David Hayter discusses the differences between movies and games. And politely declines my leading question. “It might be fun to do a crazy, over-the-top film version of Saint’s Row.” Yeah, that headline is a bit cheap but you’re reading the work of a man who once asked the maker of […]

  • Xbox One bundle gets £100 price cut in UK

    Microsoft has knocked up to £100 off Xbox One bundles in the UK. The Xbox One with Kinect Assassin’s Creed bundle is now £100 cheaper and comes with a free £20 voucher to be spent on the official Microsoft online store. Over on the Xbox online store there’s a £70 price cut on the white […]

  • Pokemon Shuffle downloaded 1m times, free stuff given out to celebrate

    Free-to-play 3DS title Pokemon Shuffle has been downloaded over 1 million times. As a reward for playing the match-3 puzzle game Nintendo has gifted players a Complexity -1 item for free. The item reduces the difficulty of a level, according to Eurogamer. By all accounts Pokemon Shuffle is a cynical game with poorly implemented microtransactions. […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power sure is pretty

    FrozenByte Games has revealed Trine 3, due for release in 2015 And what better way to reveal a new side-scrolling adventure than with a very pretty trailer full of gameplay? The latest in a series that has already sold 7 million copies is earmarked for PC and “other” formats. Trine 2 released on PS3, PS3, […]

  • Dying Light takes UK number one

    A month since it was released on digital platforms, Dying Light’s physical release has topped the UK charts. Techland and Warner’s zombie survival game has proven to be one of the big hits of the year so far. It was released on digital formats a month ago but has only just been released on good-old […]

  • GTA 5: that’s some seriously accurate grenade throwing

    Think you can take down a jet plane with a grenade throw? This guy can. In fact, he can do it twice. This is in a variation on the player-created deathmatch “Stunters Versus Snipers” which seem to be all the rage in GTA Online at the moment. One team has a sniper rifle (and grenades) […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: Mother Base turns pink in the morning sun

    The Phantom Pain looks nice even when Kojima just takes a quick pic with his phone. Look at that beauty. We get nice reflection in pink at the first gray of dawn. pic.twitter.com/aERTBoZT9z — HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) March 2, 2015 The game doesn’t have a release date yet, which makes us a bit nervous for it […]

  • Dying Light: Underpant Gnomes and 9 other secrets you missed

    Dying Light still has legs – maybe because it’s crammed full of secret things to discover. Ten of those have been highlighted by TerraMantis’ latest YouTube video, including reference to the Underpant Gnomes, guitar lessons, farting zombies and well, we don’t want to spoil it for you. Even if you think you’ve seen everything in […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Raid Mode dance gestures are deadly

    Why blind ‘em with science when you could kill ‘em with dance moves? revelations raid When I say Resident Evil: Revelations 2‘s Raid Mode dance gestures are deadly, I’m not being figurative. If you finish the first chapter of Revelations 2 you can unlock Gina for use in Raid Mode. All characters can use gestures […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition mod enables male Blackwall romance, terrific joke

    “Male Inquisitors can now scale the wall,” says a clever Redditor. A new Dragon Age: Inquisition mod removes Blackwall’s romantic restrictions, allowing male Inquisitors to chat up the fuzzy-faced warrior. Blackwall doesn’t have any race preferences, so you’re good to go there. Dragon Age: Inquisition romance mods are pretty common by now, and to be […]

  • Destiny: it is possible to solo the Weekly Heroic

    Destiny players willing to faff about with their system clock can solo the Weekly Nightfall if they prefer. The Weekly Heroic is one of Destiny‘s toughest challenges. Responding to player feedback Bungie implemented matchmaking for the Weekly Heroic, but there are players who genuinely prefer to go it alone. There’s now no legitimate way to […]

  • Clayfighter remaster on the way, says Interplay

    A Clayfighter remake is inbound, apparently. Interplay has announced a Clayfighter remaster, combining the content of all past games into one package. Features include: Characters such as Bad Mr. Frosty, Blue Suede Goo, Earthworm Jim, Hoppy, Boogerman, Tiny – and more with over 20 characters total Over 20 familiar environments from the series to duke […]

  • The quickest way to climb in Dying Light

    Dying Light players! Are you sick of picking your way carefully up the sides of tall towers? Have I got a trick for you. The parkour system in Dying Light is okay, but climbing anywhere especially high can be a bit tedious. Enter Jesse Lester, who took a look at the tools available and worked […]

  • Bungie “always” looking at Exotic changes for Destiny updates

    Destiny developer Bungie won’t stop tinkering with Exotic weapons. In Destiny, Exotic weapons are supposed to be the best of the best – and to feel unique. Guns like Ice Breaker and Gjallahorn definitely hit the mark there (although less so when everyone has one), but unfortunately, there are a few that just don’t strike […]

  • Is Uncharted 4′s first trailer a tribute to Crash Bandicoot?

    Uncharted 4′s first proper trailer bears some remarkable similarities to the opening moments of a much earlier Naughty Dog game. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has more in common with Crash Bandicoot than you might think. It’s Naughty Dog’s first game on a new console, yes – but if you compare Uncharted 4′s E3 2014 […]

  • Sonic console games will continue, says Iizuka

    Sonic Team leader Takashi Iizuka has said there are no plans to stop making Sonic games. Sonic hasn’t retired from the ranks just yet. “Please rest assured, I personally have no plans to stop making Sonic games for home consoles,” Iizuka told 4Gamer [Japanese]. The comment arose after the site asked if Sonic would become […]

  • Stealth Inc. 2 coming to PSN, apparently

    Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones will soon be available on PlayStation platforms, if a trophy list is to be believed. Stealth Inc. 2 initially launched as a Wii U exclusive, disappointing fans of Curve Studios’ tough action game. We’ve heard nothing to contradict this, but Exophase, a generally reliable source, has dug up […]

  • Runescape developer has an “undisclosed MMO” in the works

    Runescape developer Jagex is working on something new. According to Jagex’s careers page, the developer has a new, unannounced game in the works. Its advertisement for a lead programmer makes explicit mention of an “undisclosed MMO”. The ad mentions the new title is in “the preliminary stages of redefining the cross platform MMORPG genre” and […]

  • Destiny PvP rewards system to be addressed

    Destiny developer Bungie has said it will change the way Crucible rewards work. Destiny players are always complaining about the perfidy of RNGesus, but there’s one area where it particularly hurts: the Crucible. PvP players often receive nothing at all for excellent performances, and sometimes Guardians receive the best drops merely for logging in as […]